Report: Arts Education Across the States

By Liana Loewus — March 26, 2014 1 min read
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Forty-one states now have instructional requirements for arts education at all levels (elementary, middle, and high school), though only 17 states have policies regarding assessment in the subject, according to a new report by the Arts Education Partnership, a part of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The group released an updated version of its annual analysis of state policies regarding arts education this week. The other notable findings include:

  • Twenty-seven states now consider the arts a “core” or “academic” subject. Of those, only Georgia lists the four traditional disciplines—dance, music, theater, and visual art—in its statutory definition. (Note that the report refers to the District of Columbia as a state.)
  • Iowa is the only state that has not established state standards in arts education for elementary and secondary levels. (Many states use the voluntary arts standards created by the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards, which are currently undergoing revisions.)
  • About half of states require high school students to take art classes for graduation.
  • Only five states—Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, and D.C.—have no instructional requirements for arts education at any level.
  • The instructional policies for arts education, though present in most places, vary greatly from state to state, especially concerning how often and by whom instruction should be delivered. Arkansas has some of the most specific policies, stating elementary schools must provide weekly instruction for 40 minutes in visual art and 40 minutes in music by a certified art teacher.

The report also mentions that New Jersey now requires annual school reports to contain metrics about arts education. The state claimed it was the first to do so when I wrote about this in January.

The chart below is courtesy of the AEP. Check out the full report for a closer look at where states stand.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.